OK, trying something different today. With more and more Kickstarter projects coming out all the time, I thought I’d do a quick blitz through some of the ones that hold some interest for me (six of them, in fact). These aren’t full overviews, just a quick look to hopefully shed some light on what’s out there.
The title on this list that is closest to ending is Chaosmas. This one comes from Mirror Games and designer Joey Vigour. It’s for 2-4 players and takes 60 minutes to play. Chaosmos is a game of space exploration as players are searching for an artifact known as the Ovoid – the player who has it at the end of the game is the winner. Each of 10 planets has an envelope associated with it, and each envelope contains cards. As players land on planets, they can gain control of the envelope and can switch cards between their hands and the envelope. Of course, other players may set traps in an envelope, and there’s always a possibility of combat to take over an envelope. The ultimate goal is to control the Ovoid before the Cosmic Clock runs out.
Does this game sound familiar to you? If so, you may have read William Sleator’s 1984 YA novel Interstellar Pig. In that book, there’s a board game where players are aliens attempting to gain control of the Piggy before the end of the game, while meanwhile hiding equipment all over the universe. This fact alone makes me more interested in the game – I’ve wanted to see an actual Interstellar Pig board game for a long time. Keeping an eye on it…the project ends February 2, and has already funded. You can get in on the action for $55.
Spurs: A Tale in the Old West is a new offering from Mr. B Games and designer Ole Steiness. It’s a 2-5 player game that takes 90 minutes. This game is set in the Old West, and your objective is to have the most fame. Throughout the game, you’ll be moving around the board and performing actions – resolving challenges in the territory you currently occupy (breaking horses, rounding up cattle, hunting, fighting outlaws or desperadoes, digging for gold); visiting buildings in town (general store, sheriff’s office, doctor’s office, saloon, bank); or fighting another player. Combat in this game is pretty unique – players simultaneously “draw” from a bag (get it?!?) and try to pull bullets that match the weapon they’ve picked. Random, yes, but definitely different from standard dice rolling combats. The game ends when someone reaches a preset fame total, at which time everyone adds up their bonuses to find the winner.
A lot of games set in the Old West seem very Euro-ish (see Carson City and Dice Town). This one is definitely not. This looks like it is Anerican style all the way – lots of randomness, very thematic, and more about the experience than about heavy strategy. So, if that’s your thing, check it out – you have until February 5, and the game has funded. You can buy in for $45, or $60 if you want the 6-player expansion.
Four Tribes is a two-player 30-minute game from designer Jason Glover and Grey Gnome Games. In the game, players are competing for the favor of the village elders. There are six village cards laid out in a row, each with a number of different colored houses. On your turn, you play a card next to a village on your side (or possibly your opponent’s side), and then draw a card. Once there are as many cards on each side as there are houses (matching the colors as well), the player with the highest value wins the value of the indicated village elder. The first player to gain the favor of three elders of the same color, or one elder of each color, wins.
Four Tribes looks very similar to Balloon Cup. There are some differences – each player has their own deck, there are more bases in play, and there are less opportunities to play on the other side. Additionally, some of the cards have special abilities. I think it looks interesting, if only because Balloon Cup is one of my favorite games and I’m interested to see a different take. The campaign ends February 6, and you can get a copy for $30 (the game has funded).
Japanese: The Game is a card game intended to teach Japanese to non-speakers. It was designed by Bernhard Hamaker, is for 2-6 players, and plays in about 10 minutes. The basic concept is that you’re learning Japanese language basics by playing cards and building sentences. It kind of takes the gamification approach to teaching language – the project page talks about how it is cheaper and more portable than something like Pimsleur. I don’t know much about how it plays, but it seems like a good concept. At the very least, it might be something to check out if you are interested in learning Japanese. The project has already funded, so if you want to get in on it, you have until February 6. It’s going for $20.
Even though I’m usually hesitant about paying attention to zombie games, Zombie 15′ from IELLO caught my eye. This 2-4 player game, designed by Guillaume Lémery and Nicholas Schlewitz, is a real-time 15 minute game where players are trying to escape a zombie horde. There are 15 different scenarios included in the game, and each one alters the rules. Players take turns performing four actions (move, search, use an object, pick up a heavy object, drop a heavy object, fight, or get up if on the ground). While playing, a soundtrack will periodically make zombie growls, indicating that more zombies are entering the board. If you complete the objective before the soundtrack ends, you win. If not, you lose.
I like real-time games, and this one is interesting because it is a turn-based game. Unlike something like Space Alert or Escape, players aren’t doing actions simultaneously, but taking turns. This means everyone needs to be fast since zombies in your area attack after each turn. I’m assuming that everything is clear enough that AP won’t be a problem – you can remember what you need to do, or have plenty of reference. Despite being a zombie game, I’m interested to know more. If you want to get in on the campaign, it will cost you $70 and ends February 13 (way overfunded right now).
Finally, Scoville is a game from Tasty Minstrel Games and Ed Marriott about pepper farming. Scoville plays in an hour, and supports 2-6 players. The game is all about crossbreeding peppers to make hotter peppers. Rounds begin with an auction for turn order, followed by each player claiming an auction card, which gets them a new pepper. They then plant a pepper in an empty slot of the pepper field, then harvest by moving around the paths (between 1-3 steps). When you stop between planted peppers, you get a new pepper of a type indicated by a breeding chart. Players then go to the market, compete in a chili cookoff, or sell peppers. The game ends when there are fewer market cards than players in 1-2 of the locations, and everyone adds their scores to see who won.
There’s something about farming that makes it a fertile ground (pun intended) for game design. This one adds the crossbreeding element, which makes it kind of different from the standard plant-and-harvest style. I’ll probably refer to this game as Fresco meets Bohnanza (even though I think it has little to do with Bohnanza other than thematically). It looks like a pretty good game – worth checking out probably. The campaign ends on February 22, and you can reserve your very own copy for $40. It hasn’t funded yet, but it’s close.
So, there’s the Kickstarter Blitz. Any thoughts about these games? Any other games out there you’re interested in? Let me know. Thanks for reading!